Theatre Mirror Reviews - "BLACK COFFEE"

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"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

Reviews of Current Productions

Note: Entire Contents Copyright 2016 by Tony Annicone



”BLACK COFFEE”

Reviewed by Tony Annicone



The Renaissance City Theatre, the producing entity at the Granite Theatre's current show is Agatha Christie's "Black Coffee", her rarely produced first play. This is where Hercule Poirot was introduced to Christie's followers. Michael Jepson commands the stage in this role with his perfect mannerisms and line delivery as this Belgian detective. The much hated renowned scientist, Sir Claud Amory is the setting for this mystery. He is afraid his secret formula for the Atomic Bomb will be stolen. Sir Claud assembles his guests in the library, turns off the lights expecting whoever took the formula will return it. However Poirot and his assistant Captain Hastings arrive too late to save Sir Claud because someone poisoned his coffee. Throw in Claud's son, Richard, his daughter-in-law, Lucia, his sister, Caroline, his niece, Barbara, his secretary, Edward and the mysterious Dr. Carelli. Long hidden secrets are revealed as Poirot peels away the stories to deduced who the guilty party really is. The audience must figure out whodunnit with the clever detective. Director John Cillino casts these roles beautifully and obtains stunning performances from his hard working cast.

He gives his cast clever comic bits to perform and their antics are priceless especially the exchanges between Poirot and his assistant, Hastings. The costumes and the set are flawless in this mystery thriller. There are many clever twists and turns of the script that will leave you guessing all night long. Michael Jepson is perfect as Poirot, obtaining every laugh possible from this eccentric character. His mannerisms, facial expressions and line delivery are superb. His Dr. Watson sidekick is excellently played by veteran actor, Greg Bliven who towers over the detective. Other stellar performers include Veronica Strickland as the damsel in distress, Lucia with a perfect Italian accent in one of the best roles I have seen her perform and Hassan Demartino as her long suffering husband, Richard. Their exchanges with each other and the rest of the cast are standout moments. Mary Pevear is hilarious as Caroline complete with her comic convoluted stories that kept the audience in stitches. Add other colorful characters played wonderfully by Michelle Mania, Brian Olsen, Chris Maxwell and John Lamar as the niece, sinister doctor, assistant and the butler. Geoff and John play dual roles in this show and are very comical in them, too. Geoff's Monsor Pourow delivery as Inspector Japp is hilarious. I don't want to give away too many details of what happens so I won't spoil the ending for the audience. So for a topnotch night of a clever and intriguing murder mystery, be sure to catch Renaissance City Theatre's version of "Black Coffee" by Agatha Christie.

BLACK COFFEE (9 September to 2 October)
Renaissance City Theatre, Granite Theatre, 1 Granite Street, Westerly, RI
1(401)596-2341 or www.granitetheatre.com


THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide

| MARQUEE | USHER | SEATS | INTERMISSION | CURTAIN |